Tag: blue jays

The 2018 Wrap Up


What up, my dudes! Another year has almost come and gone, and looking back on it, I see that it’s been an interesting one, for real.  Through the many trials, tribulations and experiences (some of which I’ve written about here), I’ve really learned a lot. For example:

– I spent some time behind the scenes, in the audience, and in front of the camera. The TV and film life is cool from a distance, but it isn’t for me.

–  Being excluded sucks, and I’ve tried to remind my kids of this. Hopefully, they aren’t the ones who someday start a club like No Homers.

– From my chaperoning adventure, supervising large groups of kids isn’t my forte.  Yet.

– B’s hoop skills have improved a lot. It’s just a matter of time now before he beats me one on one. When this happens, chances are I’ll cry.  In the meantime, if he’s close to winning, I’ll start faking an injury before the last bucket, so my L isn’t official.

– Fortnite. I don’t get it.

– J’s grown up a lot, too. Reading, for instance.  She started the year as a pretty average reader for her age. She’s gotten a lot better, though, month by month, to the point that she now reads bedtime stories to me, instead of vice versa.

– Speaking of growing, check out her legs in this picture:

It’s from a modeling gig for a catalogue.  I figured that there would be some photoshopping or whatever involved. However, of all the things to digitally enhance, I have no clue why the photographers settled on a six year old girl’s legs. Always expect the unexpected, was my takeaway from that experience.

– We booked a road trip to Lansing last year, in part to see uber baseball prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. About a week before our trip, he got called up to the next minor league level, so we didn’t see him. This season, I bought Toronto Blue Jays tickets in April, for a September game, thinking Vlad would be in Toronto by then.  Then in May, I heard that Vlad was being called up to Buffalo soon, so we made plans to see him there in June.  Before our game, though, he ended up on the injured list, so we missed him again. When September came around, the Jays didn’t call him up to the major leagues, so I didn’t see him there, either.  Conclusion? Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is a unicorn who does not exist.

– Baby Shark.  I don’t get it.

– KJ is a sweet lil dude overall, and hilarious, but the ‘terrible twos’ is still very much a thing. He spent the other day alternating between happily playing and losing his mind because he kept asking for “daddoo back”, and because I’m adult who speaks English, I had no idea what the heck he wanted.  If daddoo back was a physical object, he probably would have  beat me with it.

Not daddoo back, FYI.

– The older I get, the more conservative I get. Take this story, for example, of P.K. Subban, Lindsey Vonn and friends, cliff jumping.

About a week before, no joke, I was in the same spot, same cliff, with some of my friends, who took the same plunge as in this video. Where’s my Instagram evidence, you ask? There is none. I chickened out. Those rocks look painful, yo!

– This Is Us. I don’t get it.

– If someone told you that, in the last twelve months, they hung out at a set where Drake filmed stuff on, saw Drake in concert, dressed up as Drake for Halloween, and In My Feelings was their most played song of 2018, you’d probably say, “Man, that teenager sure is a Drake fan!”.  The fact that I’m actually talking about my thirtysomething year old self probably means that some of you are going to stop reading the rest of this now, out of Drake hate. Anyway, in 2018, I’ve discovered that I apparently really like Aubrey Graham.

– Finally,  I think the most important lesson that was reiterated this year was to not take your family and friends for granted. Like Ferris Bueller said, life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. So enjoy life, and the people in it who make it better.

From my fam to yours, Happy New Year, y’all! See you in 2K19!

 

 

 

 

 

That Time With The 50 Foot Long Ketchup Covered Slide

As much as I enjoy hanging out with the family, I do also enjoy occasionally not hanging out with them, too.  However, with two small kids, a baby, and a pretty hectic  lifestyle, this isn’t easy to do.

Which is fine, obviously. No complaints here. It just means that whatever non-family time I have needs to be taken advantage of, to the fullest.

Yesterday, for instance. A buddy and I had made plans a while ago to go to the Toronto Blue Jays – New York Yankees game. However, earlier this week, I saw this press release come across:

 

Holy random, Batman! Now, there’s a lot going in that release. Like, unexplainable, how did someone even come up with this combination of stuff, levels of randomness. Nonetheless, since it was happening before the game, near the Rogers Centre, and I was in the area anyway, I figured that it was worth checking out. After all, I’ve never been apart of a world record before….or experienced a Brett Lawrie  hosted affair….or been able unleash my inner french fry and get dipped in ketchup….or even felt the urge to unleash my inner french fry. Anyway, a lot of my boxes were checked off, in terms of time being well spent, so off I went.

In all honesty, the event was an interesting spectacle, but it wasn’t quite like what I expected. I knew that coveralls would be provided on site, to keep your clothes clean. This was key, since I didn’t want to have to spend the afternoon at the ball game covered in ketchup stains. However, for some reason, I pictured the slide being like a playground style one, with steps and stuff. The fact that it was a flat, Slip N Slide one threw me off.

Then, my experience with those slides was that you needed a running start, to get enough momentum to go the whole length. The thing is, the one at the event didn’t allow for much space. As such, I saw people taking a few steps and belly-flopping, ketchup spraying everywhere, and gliding a few feet before getting up and either walking the rest of the way, or belly-flopping again. Anyway, the end result was people were still getting really messy, underneath their coveralls, and all on their faces. It did look like everyone was happy about being drenched in the sticky sweet condiment, though, and there was a decent sized crowd of people willing to take the plunge.

I, unfortunately (fortunately?), chickened out. Keeping my threads looking fresh to death won out over being a record-breaking human french fry. Pringles did make sure to have free samples of the ketchup chips available, which I’ve tried before, and are pretty tasty. Oh Canada, indeed. I also got to chat with the host himself, Brett Lawrie.

Yes, I’m rocking my Lawrie jersey, by the way, because that seemed like a cool thing to do. Missing from that clip is a question my son B had for Brett, which was, when he was a little kid, what team did he want to play for when he was older (Brett’s answer: he didn’t have one, he just wanted to play baseball).

So all in all, I have no idea why that event went down like it did, but it happened, and I went to it. Time well spent? I don’t know. It wasn’t a waste of time, though, that’s for sure.

 

 

 

 

 

We The North, He The Mouth

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This post goes out to hoopsheads everywhere, and their little hoopsheads!

Now, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been a basketball fan. I  was never much of a player, but I sure could watch a mean game of ball. Anyway, since my kids were little, I’ve been looking forward to the day when I could share my enjoyment of hoops with them. Luckily for me, that day came sooner than anticipated.

B’s six years old, and he’s turned into quite the little baller. If he’s not playing basketball, then he’s talking about it, especially all things NBA related.  While that part has been “like father, like son,” I’ve also realized that his perspective on the game is sometimes not like mine at all.

Because they’re the local team, I’ve watched many Toronto Raptors games with my buddies over the years, either on TV or in person. We have a beer or two, cheer the Raps on, talk some trash, and shoot the breeze about whatever. Good times.

When I watch games with B, though, it’s still good times,  but the discussions are….

Different.

Not bad, of course. Just random. The mind of small kid is a scary place, for real.

Here, let me give you an example. Game Two of the NBA playoffs. Toronto Raptors versus Miami Heat. Myself, B and our stuffed Raptors mascot……

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settle in to catch the action. The following conversations took place:

⊕ B thinks that I am like Human Google, and if I don’t have an answer, then actual Google knows all. When told that one of the commentators, Alvin Williams, used to play in the NBA, B wanted to know how many buzzer beaters he made.  Not surprisingly, this stat is hard to find. If anyone knows the answer, please let me know.

⊕  During the pre-game introductions:

B – “Daddy? Is that Miami’s coach?! Where’s he from? What colour is he?

I’m at a loss for words, as I’ve never thought about Erik Spoelstra’s heritage before.

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I wonder if Spoelstra gets asked about his background as much as Obama does.

⊕ A few months ago,  I made the mistake of telling B that my least favorite NBA player was Joe Johnson (What? He’s a Raptor killer). Every time Johnson got the ball during the game, B cheered wildly, to spite me.

⊕ More human Googling:

B – “Has Norman Powell played against every team?”

Me – “I don’t think so.”

B – “What teams hasn’t he played?”

*At this point, I called an audible. Rather than spending the next several minutes cross-referencing Norman freakin’ Powell’s game log, I recanted my prior answer.*

Me – “Wait! He has played against every team!”

B – “He has? Even Golden State?”

Me – “Yeah!”

I figured that would be it. But B had one more, head-scratching question:

B – “What time did he play Golden State at? What minutes?”

Sigh. Moving on….

⊕ With about a minute and a half left in the first quarter, B started to get excited about possibly seeing his favorite play – a buzzer beater. He started chanting “Buzzer beater!” As the clock counted down, he added a weird, nasaly, Russian accent to his chant. Alas, no buzzer beater was made.

⊕  If you’re like me, you and your friends have probably discussed which players your favorite team should trade for. Fantasy general managing. B and I took a stab at it:

B – “Golden State should trade Steph Curry for Jonas Valančiūnas.”

Me – “That trade would never happen. Golden State would want more for their best player.”

B – “Like Bismack Biyombo?”

Me – “No. They would want a lot more. Like a team’s best player, or a bunch of really good players.”

B – “Oh. They should trade Steph Curry for Kobe Bryant.”

Me – “Why would they want someone who’s retired?”

B – “Curry for Lebron James!”

I couldn’t argue that one.

⊕  Later, the game showed a person in the crowd holding a sign which read  ‘Be Yourself, Lowry.’

B – “Well, who else would he be? He is Kyle’s Lowry!”

⊕ Even though the game was close, he went upstairs to his room, to shoot hoops on his mini net. He eventually wandered back down at halftime. He had two questions – was there a buzzer beater, and who took the last shot that wasn’t a buzzer beater.

⊕   Demarre Carroll dribbled to the basket, and nailed a layup.
Me – “Wow. Carroll usually just hits jump shots. He never drives.”
B –  “Yes he does! He has to drive.”
Me – “What do you mean?”
B – “Well, how does he get to games? He needs to drive a car to them!”
 Once again, I couldn’t argue that.

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When Kids Make You Feel Ancient

As a thirty-something year old dude, I’m still fairly young.  On occasion, however, thirty-something can feel like one hundred-something.

You see, it’s easy to forget that some things which are common to me, are completely foreign to my kids.  I’m sure we all remember our parents telling us stories from their adolescence, which we couldn’t relate to at all (“You paid a quarter to take the train to see a Beatles concert, and got change back? For real?!”).  Inevitably, I expected to become a dinosaur to B and J in the future, babbling on about the good ol’ days.

What I didn’t expect was for the future to come so soon!

Because both of them are under the age of six, B and J don’t know about stuff  which was the norm just a few short years ago. They have no clue. Needless to say, this has resulted in some interesting experiences.

Here, lemme give you some examples:

 WE USED TO READ WHERE’S WALDO, NOT PLAY IT.

While at the mall last year, I pointed out a “Where’s Waldo” book to B. Many an hour was spent by me as a youth looking for Waldo, Wenda, the Wizard, tastefully drawn nude characters etc.  B’s response when I showed the book to him?

“Oh. you mean it’s like the video game?”

Thanks, Nintendo Wii. Thanks.

COMMERCIALS WERE MANDATORY VIEWING.

We were watching a Toronto Blue Jays game on TV a couple of months ago. When the commercials came on, B grabbed the remote and tried to fast forward through them. It didn’t work, obviously. He’s used to watching shows pre-recorded, or  “on demand”.  I had a hard time explaining why we couldn’t zip past the ads (“Regular TV? What’s that?”).

A commercial free childhood? Sheesh. Must be nice.

NO REALLY. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL WAS A LEGENDARY BASKETBALL PLAYER.

B and I  watched the NBA Slam Dunk Contest recently.  He was blown away by what the contestants in it were doing. However, one of the judges, Shaquille O’Neal, kept giving the dunkers lower scores than what B thought they deserved. It ticked him off, to the point that he angrily demanded to know what was up.  Now to me, Shaq is one of the best, most entertaining ballers ever. I happily rattled off his accolades. B’s bitter response to this ?

“Well, why does Shaq ruin everything?”

So now, to B, Shaq is just some clueless old guy who has less basketball credibility than Kevin Hart. Shaqtin’ a fool, indeed.

COMPACT DISCS AREN’T SHINY PLATES.

Ever explain to a three year old girl how the Wu-Tang Clan CD that she put her food on actually has music on it? Unfortunately, I have.

WUTANG

WU-TANG CLAN AIN’T NUTHING TA….LUNCH WIT’?

PHONES USED TO ONLY MAKE PHONE CALLS.

Ever explain to a crying three year old girl why she could only talk to Grammy on the phone, but not see her as well, because your phone doesn’t have FaceTime? Unfortunately, I have.

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What do you mean you can’t FaceTime on this?

 

R.I.P. 90s BOY BANDS?

*After I showed B and J the video for ‘Everybody‘ by the Backstreet Boys*

B – Who are they?

Me – The Backstreet Boys.

B – Are they from a long time ago?

Me – Sort of. The 1990s.

B – Are they dead?

Harsh, son. Just harsh. It wasn’t even that long ago! People from that era aren’t exactly dropping like flies. Yo, if you survived the 90s, good for you, apparently.

Speaking of which….

Y2K WAS TERRIFYING. WASN’T IT?

During a Chris Jericho wrestling match, the crowd was chanting his nickname “Y2J”. B asked what it meant, and I started to explain that it was a play on words, on Y2K. I then kind of tailed off and changed the subject, because I couldn’t remember why Y2K was such a big deal. I mean, at the time, the world was supposed to end, right?

Y2K_illustration

Hmm. Actually, if you survived the 90s, good for you!

 

MY ELDERS WERE MY MAIN SOURCE FOR INFORMATION.  I BELIEVED EVERYTHING THEY SAID.

Children are inquisitive and full questions.  Looking back, I’m sure I got a lot of B.S. from adults, when I was little. If they didn’t know an answer, it would require a trip to the library, or waiting until the door-to-door encyclopedia salesman came around, or something, to find one. I’m sure it was easier to fake it, just to shut me up.

With my kids, though? If I don’t know an answer, or if they think I’m lying, they’ll make me Google it.

Sometimes it’s easy to find (“Daddy? Who’s the oldest person in the world?”).

Sometimes it’s not so easy (“Daddy? Do you remember that man in that movie? You know, THAT movie? What was his name?”).

Sometimes, it’s WTF (“Daddy? How many people have ever died falling off cliffs? They do, too, keep track of this! Look it up on your phone!”). 

Whatever the case may be, I don’t get why they have to have the facts instantly, as opposed to simply taking my word for it.

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I..I can’t even. Are you dancing, Mike? Why are you doing the robot with that thing? What’s with the George The Animal Steele shirt? You realize you’re out in public, right? And you wonder why your kids don’t take you at your word?

Oh. I guess I get it now.

Anyway, you probably understand my point. The generation gap with your children can hit at any time. When it does, shoot, it can make you feel capital O Old!

That’s it for today. I think that I am going to go update my MySpace profile.

Later, y’all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feelin’ Blue

 

 

Like a lot of people in Canada, my family has gotten sick this year. We have a bad case of…..

Toronto Blue Jays fever!

For the first time in forever (word to Elsa and Anna), the Jays are a playoff team, And, for the first time ever, my kids (B especially)  are actually into the games.  For longtime fans like K and myself, it’s been real cool getting caught up in the excitement this year.

With all the excitement comes a lot of reminiscing. Not gonna lie,  it’s got me feelin’ a bit nostalgic, too, right now. Some of my favorite memories with my family have occurred at Jays games………

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Me, B and my pimpin’ G-Unit shirt, at B’s first game.

At the very first game that we took B, too, when he was a baby, I caught my first and only foul ball!

Photographic evidence of said ball.

Photographic evidence of said ball.

Well……

Caught is a bit of an exaggeration. Aaron Hill ripped a ball towards our section. It looked like it was coming straight for our heads, but it ended up  ricocheting off the seats in the empty row behind us. I immediately hopped out of my seat, to run after it. I snatched the ball up right before an older lady with a cane could get to it. Yes, that moment looked as lame as you’re probably picturing it. BUT, before the other fans could boo me, I gave it to B.

Yay me?!

Nevermind, let’s move on.

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One lazy weekend, when B was three years old, I scored a couple of primo seats to a game. They were like 10 rows up from first base. It was quite the adrenaline rush, walking down and down the steps, snacks in hand, to our seats. I imagined people in the rows farther back staring at us jealously, as we sauntered by.

The first two innings were great. We crammed our faces with food, while cheering on Toronto. By the third inning, we had run out of food/money, and B was super whiny about wanting to leave.

So, we left.

I imagined the jealous people before were now snickering, as I carried B with my head down up and up the never-ending steps. It was my first and only walk of shame. On the plus side, we did spend the remainder of the game exploring the Rogers Centre and the stuff around it so it wasn’t a total waste of a trip.

 

I decided a sequel was in order, about a year later.

Once again, I got a couple of seats last minute to a game, for B and I. Luckily for us, it was Fan Appreciation Day as well. Merchandise was heavily discounted, so I was able to get B his first real Jays jersey! I also got something for myself.

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Rickey Romero? Josh Johnson? If you’re such a big fan, why did you only hit up the clearance rack, eh, Mike?

 

 

 

 

Oh, shut up!

Anyway, during the game, they had a bunch of giveaways. You know the deal. Some random 90s dance music starts blaring, and the cheerleaders or whatever come out, with swag. Hats or shirts, typically. They tease tossing it for a bit, while you jump up and down, hoping that they’ll give it to you, before they finally end up throwing it to someone not named you. Usually a little kid. During the sixth inning,  B had been pretty good to that point, but he wanted to leave. Before we were going to go, though, it was giveaway time. One of the cheerleaders actually came down right beside us. She did the whole teasing thing for a bit while the crowd went bonkers…..and then tossed a hat to B! Our first and only swag snag! Unfortunately, it was an adult sized hat, so he couldn’t wear it. Don’t worry, I’ve put it somewhere safe.

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What? My head is safe.

 

 

 

One more for you – during our road trip to Philadelphia, it turned out that Blue Jays happened to be playing the Phillies while we were there. So, of course we got some cheap seats and went to a game!

Our view from the cheap seats

Our view from the cheap seats

For real, I was a bit nervous before going. The fam was all rocking Jays paraphernalia, you see, and I had heard some horror stories about disrespectful Philadelphia fans. Fortunately, everyone there was cool. We didn’t get pelted with beer or anything like that.

About halfway through,  B and J started to get restless. I was worried that they might start making the people around us upset, if they kept acting up. Since we would probably never go to Citizen’s Bank Park again, we decided to walk around. Randomly, K ran into one of her friends, while waiting in line for food. Her friend had also made the trip down from Hamilton, to Philly. While they chatted, I noticed a bunch of big dudes were posing for pictures on the concourse. They were all decked out in Temple University gear. I asked one of the attendants what was up. She told me they were Temple’s football team, and they had a section reserved for them. Neat!

The line for food/K’s convo were both pretty long. As B and J ran around creating general chaos we waited, I noticed all of the big dudes were gone.  The attendant came over to me again, to chit chat. I casually mentioned how we were up in the bleachers before, but the kids were stir crazy there. She then told me that Temple’s team had left, and asked if I wanted to sit in their section. No one else would be there. Uh, our own private section? Heck yeah! So off we went, which is where we watched the rest of the game!

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A view from our better seats

 

There’s more examples, but I’ve gone on about this for long enough. I think you get my point though. It just seems like, whenever we go to a Toronto Blue Jays game, there’s always something memorable about them (besides the fact that they always seem to lose when I’m in attendance. Sorry, T-Dot).

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Oh, hey there, NHL superstar Steven Stamkos.

It’s funny how some things can really bring a family together. In our case, it’s cheering on the Jays. Man, even their playoff run this season has been must-watch TV in our house!

 

Unless it's a late game, and you can't stay awake, so you curl up in a pillow case to sleep, instead. What do you mean no one else does that?

Unless it’s a late game, and you can’t stay awake, so you curl up in a pillow case to sleep, instead. What do you mean no one else does that?

 

It’s all good.

 

Go Jays go!

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